My Twitter DMs are open, and I will respond. I’m a comedian, and I use direct messages to find freelance writing opportunities, contact sources for articles, and—as most people who have messaged me in the past year can tell you—send links to my new book. But at my core, I’m just a woman with 170,782 Twitter followers and poor time-management skills. A reasonable person would have blocked DMs from strangers once they started streaming in daily—for me, around 2019. I did not.

I haven’t kept my DMs open just for professional benefits. The real reason is that they expose me to people I wouldn’t otherwise meet—people who tend to teach me something about themselves (and who might buy my book). The unsolicited messages I receive are sometimes sweet, sometimes sexual, and sometimes truly cruel: Senders tell me they like my tweets or they hate my tweets; they want to work with me, they want to motorboat me, or they want me to know I’m worthless. But things really get interesting when I write back. Perhaps out of depraved curiosity, probably against my better judgment, I almost always do.

People love to say that Twitter is a hellscape, and recent events have understandably renewed that conviction. But in my DMs (on that site and on Instagram, too) some of the meanest users turn out to be vulnerable, even decent, when I engage with them. I’ve learned a lot about humanity this way—and against all odds, I’ve regained some faith in it.

[David Frum: 10 things Elon Musk should do]

Obviously, I enjoy responding to the nice senders; it’s easy to answer kindness with kindness. Most of their DMs are short and sweet, but some of them write detailed, personal messages about their experience with struggles that I discuss online: substance abuse, mental illness, romantic mishaps. Sometimes they say they’re too nervous to open up to friends or family. (A stranger can make the best confidant—I know because I’ve also asked for help from people I don’t know.) Many of the sweet DMers apologize for oversharing or draining my time. But they don’t realize how grateful I am; on a site that’s often full of bots and hatred, it makes my day to hear from real people who are trying their best.

The people sending sexual DMs aren’t quite as wholesome, but sometimes they make me smile …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Best of

      

My Open DMs Give Me Faith in Humanity

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